|DAY 1||DAY 2||DAY 3||DAY 4||DAY 5|
|BREAKFAST||Trandor Hakata Station||il FORNO del MIGNON Hakata Station||Sanso Tanaka||Komeda Coffee||Tanya Hakata Station|
|MORNING||-Arrival to Fukuoka Airport|
-Train to Mojiko Retro
|-Yufuin no Mori to Yufuin Town||-Yufuin no Mori to Hakata Station||Train to Nagasaki||Train to Kumamoto|
-Curry Honpo Mojiko Retro
|Yufu Mabushi Shin Ekimae||Ikkousha Fukuoka||Yakiniku Pure||Tonkatsu Katsuretsutei Shinshigai Main Store|
-Yufuin Floral Village
-eat Yufuin Milch
-eat Kinsho Croquettes
|Canal City Hakata||Nagasaki|
-Kumamoto City Hall
-Yatai at Nakasu Island
|Onsen at Sanso Tanaka||Tenjin Underground Mall||Night view at Mount Inasa||Shimotori shopping arcade|
-Ichiran Main Store
|Takeaway from AEON MaxValu||-Yatai by Naka River|
|-Chawanmushi at Yossou, Nagasaki|
-Motsunabe Rakuten, Fukuoka
|La Maison de la Nature Goh|
|STAY||Tokyu Stay Hakata||Sanso Tanaka Yufuin||Tokyu Stay Hakata||Tokyu Stay Hakata||Tokyu Stay Hakata|
Kyushu is a hidden gem all by itself! Lesser known than the Greater Tokyo Area, Kansai and Hokkaido but yet big enough to offer everything you could look for in a travel experience. Another great advantage of Kyushu is the prices. If you want to visit Japan but you do not want visit an expensive city such as Tokyo, cities in Kyushu such as Fukuoka and Kumamoto might be a great alternative. We spent 5 days in Kyushu and make good use of our 5D JR North Kyushu Pass to explore Mojiko, Yufuin, Nagasaki and Kumamoto. It is best to prebook your pass from KLOOK to pick up your pass directly at JR counters in Japan! Another great tip is you will have your e-ticket number available immediately in order to make reservation for the highly popular Yufuin no Mori train.
If you are flying in from Malaysia or Singapore, it is most likely that you will land into Fukuoka Airport. Worth mentioning about Fukuoka Airport – located right in the middle of the city, it’s probably the most accessible airport in all of Japan.
WiFi access across Japan is only RM 12 per day, from KLOOK too.
Nishitetsu Bus operates frequent local buses between the airport and Hakata Station (15 minutes, 260 yen).
The Subway Station is located on the basement level of the Domestic Terminal. International Passengers have a free shuttle bus which gets to the subway, the inter-terminal shuttle. It is just two subway stops from Hakata Station (5 minutes, 260 yen one way) and a further three station from Tenjin Station (12 minutes, 260 yen one way).
A taxi ride from the international terminal to Hakata Station takes about 10-15 minutes and costs approximately 1200 yen.
Fukuoka is the largest city in the island of Kyushu, very well connected to other parts of the country, perfect as a base to explore Kyushu. The best areas to stay in Fukuoka are Tenjin area or Hakata area. Tenjin is also where a large underground shopping mall and the famous Oyafuko-dori, the city’s nightlife hub, are located. Hakata is where Hakata Station and Fukuoka Airport are located. As a result, it is the ideal place for tourists who wish to remain close to the airport and travel.
We spent a night at a super nice family ryokan in Yufuin and the remaining 4 nights in Tokyu Stay Hakata. The hotel is near to Hakata Station (about 8 minutes walk) which is a great location to base your Fukuoka stay out of. Just opened in end year 2018, the hotel is fairly new, and the cleanliness of all areas is impeccable. I love how they provide free coffee, ice cubes and toiletries – all free to grab at lobby area. There is a washer dryer in the room too, which is useful for us because we did all our laundry before flying back home.
However, the hotel is very near to a train track, remember to ask for rooms that is facing another side of the train track so that you will not be bothered by the noise.
Tokyu Stay Hakata
Address: 1 Chome-11-11 Hakataekiminami, Hakata Ward, Fukuoka, 812-0016, Japan
Phone: +81 92-431-1091
Getting Here: 8 minutes walk from 博多駅筑紫口 Hakata Chikushi Gate
Hakata Station is fairly small, so it is quite easy to spot some of the famous eateries here – Trandor (famous for curry pan with half cooked egg) and Il Forno Del Mignon (famous for mini croissants). The curry pan is delicious, we just have to get it every time we passes by Trandor.
Trandor Hakata Station
Address: 1-1 Hakataekichuogai, Hakata Ward, Fukuoka, 812-0012, Japan
Hours: 6am–10:30pm daily
Right after we left our luggage at Tokyu Stay Hakata, we headed to Mojiko Retro in Kitakyushu City. It is a port district with a number of old Western style buildings.
Dated back to 1914, Mojiko station is one of the few remaining large wooden stations in Japan. After a six-year period of renovation, the station has been restored to its original appearance at the time of its foundation in 1914.
Take a limited express from Hataka station to Kokura station and then a local train to Moji (55 minutes). Free with the JR Kyushu Pass.
The area around the station has several museums, historic buildings, restaurants, cafés, a shopping center, an observation tower, a harbour, a notable pedestrian bridge, and even a microbrewery – all within walking distance.
Even the Starbucks Coffee here in the station is a nice spot for fans of history, trains and Frappuccinos alike.
From Mojiko, we took a ferry to Karato Market. The ferry terminal called Kanmon Kisen (関門汽船 門司港乗り場) is actually just opposite Mojiko Station and near to this famous yaki curry restaurant. The ferry ride costs 400 yen one way and lasted for about 5 minutes. .
The Karato Market is actually located in Shimonoseki in the Yamaguchi Prefecture on the main island. It is also well known for its energetic spirit and pufferfish. On Fridays to Sundays, the Karato Market (唐戸市場) will host a Sushi Battle event. During this period, participating fish stalls will sell sushi, chirashi don and other seafood dishes so it is best to schedule your visit to the fish market during the weekend.
Most of the nigiri here costs only 200 yen each – think uni, toro, ebi and many more. Besides nigiri and chirashi don, there were fugu sashimi, deep fried pufferfish and fugu saké! We had fun deciding and choosing what to have for lunch, and joined the crowd for a lunch with a view by the pier.
Take the ferry (¥400 one way) from Kanmon Kisen to Shimonoseki ferry terminal (about 5 minutes). Exit the Shimonoseki ferry terminal and walk along the water to your left. You will see the Karato Market in about 5 minutes.
Best to come here on Friday to Sunday around lunch hour. The market is quiet on the other days.
If you like Neo-Renaissance style architecture, you’ll enjoy the whole Mojiko Retro port area. Many of the buildings were built during the Meiji and Taisho periods with red bricks. An eye-catching red brick building is the former Moji Customs Building; it now has an art gallery which is free to enter.
A romantic walk along the promenade by the sea takes you to Kaikyo Plaza, a shopping facility where souvenirs and local produce are on sale. Banana products are a specialty of Moji Port, we also joined the queue to take picture with this two banana man statues. Behind the statues is the area’s tallest building at which the Mojiko Retro Observation Room is located 103 meters above ground.
Mojiko’s local delicacy “Yaki Curry” is a must try dish here. It is actually a baked curry and rice dish, topped with plenty of cheese. The one at Curry Honpo is really delicious!!
Curry Honpo Mojiko Retro 伽哩本舗門司港レトロ店
Address: Japan, 〒801-0852 Fukuoka, Kitakyushu, Moji Ward, Minatomachi, 9−2 阿波ビル２階左
Hours: Monday-Friday 11am–2:30pm, 5–8pm; Saturday-Sunday 10:30am–8pm
Here in Mojiko, there’s a only drawbridge that’s pedestrian-only in Japan called the Blue Wing Moji Bridge. The raising and lowering of the bridge happens every hour. The beautiful scenery of Kanmon Strait and Kanmon Bridge can be seen from here too.
After a half day trip to Mojiko, we took the train back to Fukuoka City.
Located in the middle of the city, Nakasu Island has a long row of around 20 yatai that are attractively situated along the water. Yatai is a specialty only in Fukuoka that one must not missed. Most of the time the food is expensive so it’s more for the experience. Here’s some rules in yatai that most tourists might not be aware of.
We had our early dinner at Miharu Tofuten, who recently rose to fame due to Chef Gaggan.
Mihara Tofuten Bangkok is Gaggan Anand’s joint venture with his good friends Tan who known as Bangkok Eating Specialist and Goh Fukuyama from La Maison de La Nature Goh.
This is not a bland, meatless affair. We had agedashi tofu – it was deep-fried with a light touch to crispy golden perfection but the tofu remained soft and velvety, almost melt in your mouth. Even the nama chocolates made of tofu were good! Their selection is quite limited and price is on the high side, so we only came for some pre-dinner drinks and snacks. Reservation is recommended too.
Mihara Tofuten 三原豆腐店
Address: 3-19 Nishinakasu, Chuo Ward, Fukuoka, 810-0002, Japan
Hours: 5:30pm–12am daily, close on Sundays
Phone: +81 92-731-1108
Getting Here: 8 minutes walk from Tenjin Station
The Ichiran franchise has become synonymous to the must-try ramen when in Japan among tourists. But have you ever wondered where it originated? Look no further as the roots of this well-loved Tonkotsu based ramen stems right here in Hakata city, Fukuoka! We had to pay pilgrimage to Ichiran’s HQ in here in Fukuoka. The main store even have yatai style kind of seating!
Ichiran Main Store
Address: 5 Chome-3-２ Nakasu, Hakata Ward, Fukuoka, 810-0801, Japan
Hours: 24 hours daily
Phone: +81 92-262-0433
ミニョン (il FORNO del MIGNON)
Address: Japan, 〒812-0012 Fukuoka, Hakata Ward, Hakataekichuogai, 1−１ 博多駅構内
Hours: 7am–11pm daily
We were really excited about this train ride because we heard much about the Yufuin no Mori train! Yufuin is a lovely onsen resort that you can easily spend a day discovering. To enjoy the best of your trip to Yufuin, I recommend staying in Yufuin at least 1 night, especially at ryokan – a traditional Japanese inn.
The Yufuin no mori train makes two round trips a day to Yufuin (2h10). The train is covered by the JR Kyushu All Area pass or North Kyushu Pass. Please note that reservations are required. Learn how to reserve online after purchasing tickets with this detailed yet easy to follow guide.
As this limited edition train ride is highly popular, it is recommended that you get your 3D/5D JR All/North Kyushu Pass from KLOOK early and use the pass number to make reservation for Yufuin no Mori. Seat reservation opens one month before and the reservation fee is 1,000 yen.
⭐️ It is a forest themed train with full glass panel at the driver’s area, as well lounge area for you to enjoy the scenery
⭐️ The snack bar is the best. Apart from souvenirs, special beverages and desserts, they have bentos designed by Michelin star restaurant “Sushi Takemoto”
⭐️ Photo services – cabin attendants will help you to take a picture with a holding board. You can also cabin attendant’s hat and jacket for photo
⭐️ The train will slow down whenever it passes by a nice scenery spot and the cabin attendance will carry a sign to remind you
⭐️ Free postcards and stamping service available onboard
After 2 hours or so, we finally arrived to Yufuin Train Station. Just few minutes walk from the train station is a highly popular restaurant called Yufu Mabushi Shin. Mabushi is actually rice cooked in claypot.
There are only three main items in the menu – “Jidori mabushi” which they use local chicken, “Unagi mabushi” which they use local eel, and “Bungomabushi” which they use black cow steak from Oita. They have table seats and tatami seats so you can relax and enjoy your meal. Remember to register your name at the counter and the restaurant staff will inform you to come back at a time later. They have another outlet near the Lake Kinrin too.
We ordered the jidori and bungo mabushi and both were so delicious! There is a paper with written instructions on how to enjoy the rice pot. The rice pot is served with a beautiful platter of appetisers, yakumi (condiments) and dashi (soup stock).
There are three ways to enjoy your mabushi. First involves eating the rice and meat as it is. After you’ve had a few bites, you can then mix the yakumi into your bowl for the second stage. It is a must to try the yuzu sansho which you can see all over Yufuin (must buy!). When you’re down to the last few bites, you pour the dashi into your bowl to polish off the rest. The crispy and charred rice bits are the best, and the soup soften them.
Yufu Mabushi Shin Ekimae
Address: 2F 5-3 Kawakita, Yufuin, Yufu, Oita
Time: 11:00~16:00, 17:30~21:00 Fridays to Wednesdays
Getting Here: Yufumabushi Shin Ekimae is located just a few minutes’ walk from the Yufuin train or bus station. Just walk down the main street and you’ll see stairs leading up to the restaurant on your left.
It is quite easy to explore Yufuin, as most tourists start their journey from the train station, passing by the main shopping street and Yufuin Floral Village and ended in Lake Kinrin. The whole journey takes about 30 minutes without shopping, on foot. There are cafes, restaurants, shops, and museums along the main street. You wouldn’t miss the Snoopy shop, Totoro shop, a cat themed shop and a dog themed shop.
Yufuin Milch pudding is one of the must eat desserts here. There are 4 outlets scattered around the area – Yufuin Milch、Yufuin Milch Cafe、Yufuin Milch Donut & Cafe and Yufuin Milch Plus. All the products here are made with 100% Yufuin milk. The caramel pudding is really really good, while the half baked cheese and ricotta cheese cake are nothing to shout about.
Along the shopping street, you will find the famous shop called B-speak, where you can buy Yufuin’s signature sweet, the “P roll” roll cake. The single roll cake (540 yen) usually sells out by noon, while there are plenty of stocks for the full roll (1520 yen). You can actually make reservations on the day you arrive, so that you can pick up the single roll on the next day. The roll cake was light and fluffy.
Address: Oita Prefecture, Yufu City, Yufuin Machi Kawakami 3040-2
We went to Kinsho Croquettes to try their award winning beef croquette before the queues got longer. For JPY 160, it is hot and crispy, really good.
Modeled after Cotswold in England, Yufuin Floral Village is both visually pleasing and entertaining. It features many shops and restaurants too. The mini stores are so small and cute that even an average adult can touch their roof.
It was raining when we were at Yufuin so the picture does not do the beautiful Lake Kinrin any justice. It has onsen hot springs bubbling up through the lake bed. The warmth from these hot spring jets warms the water and creates a mysterious mist upon the lake surface during the autumn and winter months.
We checked into Sanso Tanaka to spend a night here. The ryokan is approximately 7-minutes away from Yufuin station on foot. You wouldn’t mind the short walk as Yufuin town is extremely charming. The staff is immensely accommodating and wonderfully thoughtful. They put utmost care into everything they do for their guests. We arrived to the ryokan drenching in rain and they offered us warm towel, and even quietly blow dry our shoes (without asking).
Our room is clean and huge, with a beautiful view. I loved waking up to the twin peaks of Yufudake. The sharing toilets were always clean. The inn also has a microwave and refrigerator should you wish to heat up your food and chill your highballs.
Guests can borrow their bikes to explore Yufuin. They also provide guests with a detailed map of the area with recommendations on where to eat and the scenic routes to take. There is an AEON Maxvalu (where we get our dinner from) near to the ryokan. The are also three onsens where guests can use privately (2 indoor and 1 outdoor). If the little wooden keys to the onsens are available at the reception, it means that the onsen is vacant and you can bring the key to open the door and use it.
We really enjoy our stay at Sanso Tanaka. Another one of the most recommended ryokans in Yufuin is Bettei Itsuki.
Address: 286-1 Yufuincho Kawaminami, Yufu, Oita 879-5103, Japan
Phone: +81 977-85-4500
Getting Here: 7 minutes by foot from Yufuin station
We checkout out from Sanso Tanaka and took the beautiful Yufuin no Mori train back to Hakata station. You can refer to the train’s time table here.
But first, lunch at Ikkousha Fukuoka 博多一幸舎総本店. The first thing that comes to mind in Fukuoka City is Hakata style tonkotsu ramen and its milky broth. Fukuoka is also the home of Ippudo and Ichiran and also Hakata Ikkousha. Out of the three types of ramen offered in their menu, tonkotsu ramen is highly recommended and the set is super worth it – comes with mentaiko rice and mini gyoza (a Hakata specialty too) for only 1000 yen.
The most distinctive feature of the ramen here is the microfoam bubbles of rendered pork fat that add richness and sweetness to the soup without weighing it down. Really good!
Ikkousha Fukuoka 博多一幸舎総本店
Address: 3 Chome-23-12 Hakata Ekimae, Hakata Ward, Fukuoka, 812-0011, Japan
Hours: 11am–11:30pm daily
Phone: +81 92-432-1190
Getting Here: 5 minutes walk from Hakata station
Canal City Hakata (キャナルシティ博多) is a large shopping and entertainment complex, calling itself a “city within the city”. Attractions include about 250 shops, cafes and restaurants, a theater, game center, cinemas, two hotels and a canal running through the complex. There’s a ramen stadium on level 5 too!
At the center of the canal there is a fountain with water shows every 30 minutes from 10:00 until 22:00.
Canal City Hakata is a short ride by the 100 yen loop bus from Hakata Station or Tenjin Station (100 yen, departures every 5-10 minutes). Alternatively, you can walk there in about 15 minutes from Hakata Station or in about 20 minutes from Tenjin Station.
We continued our shopping at Tenjin Chikagai (Tenjin Underground Mall), the largest underground shopping area in Kyushu stretches for a distance of approximately 1km, consisting of 2 avenues each with a 590m span from north to south.
The underground space is directly connected to Tenjin and Tenjin-Minami subway station and also conveniently located near Nishitetsu Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station and Nishtietsu Tenjin bus center.
We also had an early dinner at 司, a yatai by the Naka river. It is located in between Tenjin and Canal City. Food is good, but kind of pricy, expecting around 800 – 1000 yen per dish.
Address: Japan, 〒810-0801 Fukuoka, Hakata Ward, Nakasu, 8, 春吉橋那珂川沿い
Hours: 5:30pm–1am daily
Phone: +81 92-413-9248
The night is still young, as we slowly took a 20 minutes stroll back to Hakata Station and arrived just in time for our 9pm reservation at Nikuichi. We ordered the premium Saga beef set (3980 yen) and it was really really good. Great quality beef with reasonable pricing, no wonder there’s always a long queue forming outside.
Address: 1 Chome-2-18 Hakataekiminami, Hakata Ward, Fukuoka, 812-0016, Japan
Hours: 5pm–1am daily
Phone: +81 92-472-1129
Getting Here: 7 minutes walk from Hakata station
We started our day at Komeda Coffee near Hakata Station. It is a coffee chain from Nagoya and they offer free toast with any drinks order during breakfast time.
The food was nothing to shout about but it’s the familiarity that makes me keep coming back. Still quite a nice place for a relaxing coffee break.
Address: 2 Chome-4-20 Hakataekihigashi, Hakata Ward, Fukuoka, 812-0013, Japan
Hours: 7am–11pm daily
Phone: +81 92-477-8861
We went to Nagasaki for a day trip. If you have time, do spend a night here because there are so much to see and do. One of the best night views in the world is on offer here, along with historic ports, a mix of Chinese and Dutch culture, and of course, Gunkanjima of The Battleship Island fame (Soong Jong-Ki!).
KLOOK offers quite a good day trip package on Gunkanjima, Glover Island, Nagasaki Chinatown and Mt Inasayama night view. We should have followed this. Otherwise you can make use of the one day street car pass for 500 yen (very rushed).
First stop was Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown (長崎新地中華街, Nagasaki Shinchi Chūkagai), the oldest Chinatown in Japan. You can find Nagasaki’s famous, Chinese-influenced dishes, Chanpon and Sara Udon.
Nagasaki Chinatown is located a short walk from the Shinchi Chinatown (Shinchi Chukagai) tram stop along tram lines 1 and 5.
However, we went for a yakiniku lunch again. So far we have tried Bungo Beef, Saga Beef and now Nagasaki beef. The lunch set is really reasonable! We ordered the most expensive set (2800 yen) and it comes with this platter of delicious high quality meat.
Address: 2-7 Shinchimachi, Nagasaki, 850-0842, Japan
Hours: 11:30am–2pm, 5–10:30pm daily
Phone: +81 95-824-2900
Meganebashi (眼鏡橋, Spectacles Bridge) is the most remarkable landmark in downtown Nagasaki. The bridge, which gets its name from the resemblance it has to a pair of spectacles when reflected in the river water, is a popular tourist attraction and is designated as an important cultural property. There is a stone walkway along the river bank that makes for a pleasant stroll with nice views of the water and bridges. The walkway has a tranquil atmosphere and is accessed by steps from street level positioned at various points along the river.
Meganebashi Bridge is a short walk from the Meganebashi tram stop on lines number 4 and 5.
Oura Church (大浦天主堂, Ōura Tenshudō) is a Catholic church in Nagasaki. Built towards the end of the Edo Period in 1864 by a French missionary for the growing community of foreign merchants in the city, it is considered the oldest standing Christian church in Japan.
Getting Here: Oura Church is a five minute walk from the Ouratenshudo tram station on tram line number 5. It stands just next to the entrance of Glover Garden.
Admission: 1000 yen
Hours: 8am to 6pm daily
Glover Garden (グラバー園, Glover-en) is an open air museum in Nagasaki that exhibits mansions of several of the city’s former foreign residents and related buildings. It is located on the hill where Western merchants settled down after the end of Japan’s era of seclusion in the second half of the 19th century.
In addition to the historic buildings, the garden offers nice views of the city and the harbor, including some of Nagasaki’s important industrial sites. There are also a cafe and souvenir shop.
The main attraction of the garden is the Former Glover House, but it is currently undergoing renovation until November 2020. The No. 2 Dock House is equally charming too.
Glover Garden is a five minute walk from Ouratenshudo tram stop along tram line number 5. The entrance is just next to the Oura Catholic Church.
Admission: 610 yen
Hours: 8 am to 6 pm daily
Other then the famous chanpon at Shikairo, the Chawanmushi at Yossou restaurant is backed by over 140 years of experience. It comes in a big bowl because everyone is requesting for a huge portion (it is that good!). The steaming hot bowl of custardy goodness can also be enjoy in a set called Fufumushi (which translates to “husband & wife set”) for 1350 yen.
Address: 8-9 Hamamachi, Nagasaki-city, Nagasaki 850-0052
Hours: Mon-Sun, 11AM-9PM
Take the tram to Kankodori station. Enter the Kankodori Shopping Arcade. Walk straight then make a right after the second major cross street. Yossou will be on your right.
Probably one of the most well known specialties of Nagasaki is the Nagasaki Castella sponge cake. Don’t worry you wouldn’t be able to miss it because they are everywhere! Bunmeido, Fukusaya and Ijindo are some of the famous castella specialty shops. It is definitely not cheap – about 2000 yen for one roll, but you can also get smaller size (300 yen, Fukusaya has it) just to have a taste. The bottom of the castella has coarse sugar on it, which provides a little extra sweetness.
The night views from Mount Inasa are ranked among Japan’s three best night views besides the views from Mount Hakodate and Mount Rokko. We are glad that we have seen all 3! The best way to enjoy this view is to take the glass-paneled gondola ropeway up to Mt. Inasa.
The ropeway ride takes five minutes and costs 720 yen (one way) or 1230 yen (round trip). A discount coupon is available online. Operation hours are from 9:00 to 22:00. There are occasional periods when the ropeway is not running due to maintenance. Gondolas depart every 15-20 minutes. The ropeway’s lower station can be reached in less than ten minutes from Nagasaki Station by frequently operating Nagasaki Bus, by taxi, or in a five minute walk from the Takaramachi tram stop.
By car or taxi
Parking is available at the summit of Mount Inasa (100 yen). The car ride from Nagasaki Station takes roughly 15 minutes, while a taxi ride costs around 2000 yen one way.
Nagasaki Bus runs 1-2 buses per hour between Nagasaki Station and Inasayama bus stop (15 minutes, 180 yen one way), but note that it is still a 15 minute climb from the bus stop to the summit.
Open hours 8:00-22:00 (viewing platform on Mt. Inasa)
9:00-22:00 (Nagasaki Ropeway)
24 hours (car park and roof top observation deck)
We arrived to Hakata Station late but could not resist having Motsunabe – a Fukuoka residents’ soul food. The main ingredients of motsunabe are beef innards, cabbage, tofu, and Chinese chives. The soup is often miso or soy sauce based. We are not too sure if we will like motsu (beef innards) so we shared the smallest order (990 yen) at Rakuten, do note that other motsunabe specialty shops will charge you on a per pax basis.
元祖 もつ鍋 楽天地 博多 駅 新幹線口店
Address: 2 Chome-2-27 Hakataekihigashi, Hakata Ward, Fukuoka, 812-0013, Japan
Hours: 5pm–12am daily
Phone: +81 92-441-7744
Beef tongue for breakfast? And it’s only 500 yen? Why not? Located in the B1 level of the Hakata Station, Tanya (たんや) Hakata specializes in beef tongue and there is always a queue forming outside, especially during breakfast time. This is because they offer this 500 yen (+tax) breakfast set that comes with 4 slices of beef tongue, sautéed vegetables, rice, soup and coffee. Rice and coffee are refillable too. Cheap and good!
Address: 1-1 Hakataekichuogai, Hakata Ward, Fukuoka, 812-0012, Japan
Hours: 7am–11pm daily
Phone: +81 50-3373-6808
Again, we are making good use of our 5D JR North Kyushu Pass by taking Shinkansen to Kumamoto. The Shinkansen ride is only 30 minutes from Hakata Station to Kumamoto Station.
Here we are in Kumamoto, where a black bear with rosy red cheeks is spotted everywhere!
Kumamon is the black bear mascot of Kumamoto prefecture, created to boost tourism to the region. He is so popular that he can be found on everything from pencil cases to toilet paper.
Even the kumamon bento sets look cute! A percentage of the proceeds will go into restoration work post earthquake. You can also head to Kumamon Square to get more Kumamon merchandises.
To go to major sightseeing spots such as Kumamoto Castle and Suizenji Joju-en Garden, Kumamoto City Tram will be a great way to go. The one day pass costs only 500 yen. Route map here.
Kumamoto Castle is an important landmark here. With large castle grounds, it is also one of the most impressive castles in Japan. However, it suffered serious damage in the earthquakes of April 2016. Many roof tiles fell, foundations were damaged, walls crumbled and entire structures collapsed. The inner grounds are currently closed to the public; however, it is possible to look at the massive fortress from the outside.
Here’s a tip, you can get an aerial of the castle from Kumamoto City Hall building. Just take the lift to top floor.
The Sakuranobaba Josaien area 桜の馬場城彩苑 is an Edo-style neighborhood that sits near Kumamoto Castle. This is a great place to check out some traditional shops and try some of the unique regional cuisine.
One of the most popular snacks here is the uni croquettes (390 yen), really delicious!
We also had one of the best tonkatsu that we’ve ever tried here in Kumamoto! Katsuretsutei is a famous restaurant in Kumamoto offering Kurobuta (black pork) from Kagoshima in Kyushu island. Their signature dish “Atsuage Tonkatsu” – a thicker thicker than usual cut is a must order here. They also offer daily specials for weekday lunches.
The quality of the meat is so good – mild sweet taste and bursting with juices. The batter is very light and crispy, and from the look of it, it seems like they make their own panco (breadcrumbs) due to the random shapes and lengths.
Tonkatsu Katsuretsutei Shinshigai Main Store
Address: 8-18 Shinshigai, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto City
Hours: 11:30 – 22:00 (Last call at 21:30)
In Kumamoto City, the two most popular districts for shopping and eating out are Kamitori shopping arcade, and Shimotori shopping arcade. Since our lunch place is near to Shimotori, we headed there for some retail therapy. It is such a great place to shop. We had fun comparing prices since most of the major drug stores are within this street and their prices are really competitive.
Thanks for the great memories, Kumamoto!!
We really look forward to our dinner at La Maison de la Nature Goh, Fukuoka and it did not disappoint. La Maison de la Nature Goh is a French restaurant opened by maverick chef Takeshi Fukuyama. He specialises in using seasonal ingredients from greater Kyushu area, combining with innovative techniques to bring out the most of each ingredient for a unique dining experience. In 2016, it became the first restaurant in Kyushu named to the “Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list”, and it made the ranking again in 2018.
The dinner menu costs 6,000 yen or 8,000 yen. It was a truly great dining experience for us. The food was great, wine list simple but paired really well with the food, and service was attentive with great explanation. Chef Fukuyama also waved good-bye until we are no longer in his sight – such a humble man. If you have not already heard, both Chef Fukuyama and Chef Gaggan are good friend and they have agreed to close their respective restaurants in 2020 and open a brand new one in Fukuoka. This is your final chance to dine here. Reservations are recommended.
La Maison de la Nature Goh
Address : 2-26 Nishi-nakasu, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka [ MAP ] Tel : 092-724-0955
Open : 18:00~24:00
Close : Sun.
Such a great ending to our trip in Kyushu! We took the early morning flight back to KL on the very next day.